Monya Wyatt of NavTracs
Monya Wyatt, founder of NavTracs
, is passionate about making sure every student is ready for college, especially financially.
How did you start your business?
It came about through conversations I had with a financial advisor, Brad Cunningham. When I met him, my oldest child was a senior in high school. He followed me along that process to make sure I’d have what I needed to get her to college. I’m a struggling single mom, so I told him scholarships would be needed.
By the time we decided where she’d go, we had $200,000 worth of scholarships. Brad and his dad, Tom, wanted to pair with school districts because they were seeing that parents and seniors weren’t prepared for college, whether financially or otherwise.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
We started promoting ourselves by giving presentations to families to try to help them start [the college search process] earlier so they could learn to navigate the waters before senior year of high school. I had another daughter right behind my freshman in college, so I was doing it all over again. I also have a second grader, so I talk to families from a parents’ perspective, and the Cunninghams share a financial perspective.
You have your guidance counselors and mentors— this is more of a way to hand-help you through the process and find out what you do if, for example, you’re waitlisted or deferred.
What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
Networking, networking, networking! It’s all about who you know. Brad and his dad were connected to several superintendants, and they had connections with people who knew how to do web design, marketing and writing. They started pulling together this team of people and NavTracs
started picking up momentum.
What services do you offer?
We offer financial counseling so parents and students alike can prepare themselves for college expenses. We do early preparation and counseling as far as how to build a village—who’s part of the circle of people who’ll help you get your child where they need to go? They can be mentors, coaches, teachers or people in the community. If you don’t have a circle, what resources could you use to build one?
Once families get in the process, we also have Jessica Donovan
who helps aid in the college admissions process, and works hand-in-hand with families as much as they might need.
It’s a one-stop shop. Brad and his group are the financial side. Then, you have Jessica if someone needs help with college admissions. I help build the foundation for a young person so that when they need to apply to college, they’re ready.
What inspires you?
Just knowing that we’re helping someone else. The first time I went through this, it was so much work, so much stress, so much pressure. The college process was another layer on top of senior year, which is already an emotional year for the parent and the child.
It was always in the back of my mind: If ever I can help someone get through senior year a bit easier than we did, I will. People tell you what you need to do; they don’t always tell you how to do it, where to start or when to start.
What’s next for you and your company?
The goal is to expand to other school districts. Because we’re small, we all work jobs elsewhere, so it’s hard to commit too much without being spread too thin. Oak Hills was our test market; they were the first school district to give us a chance. Because the district was so big, we felt the audience was perhaps too broad. The goal for the next school year is to pair our meetings with existing programs for parents and students. This way, schools have quality time with students, but there’s also a time for a presenter like NavTracs.
Interview by Robin Donovan